MX23RW : Wednesday, June 19 03:27:39| >> :600:3296743:3296743:
May 12, 2019 at 5.30pm UK at ​Estadio Municipal de Anoeta (Donostia-San Sebastián)
Attendance: 27,322
Real Sociedad
Real Madrid
Merino (26'), Zaldua (57'), Barrenetxea (67')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Diaz (6')
Vallejo (40')

Preview: Real Sociedad vs. Real Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Real Sociedad and Real Madrid, including team news and predicted lineups.

Real Madrid will be looking to make it back-to-back wins in La Liga when they travel to the Aneota to face Real Sociedad on the penultimate matchday of the 2018-19 campaign.

Third-placed Madrid bounced back from a defeat at Rayo Vallecano by overcoming Villarreal last weekend, while Sociedad, who currently occupy seventh, have won their last two against Getafe and Alaves.

Real Sociedad

Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet scores the opening goal against Real Sociedad on April 20, 2019© Reuters

Twelve wins, 11 draws and 13 defeats - that is how Sociedad have performed in La Liga this season. A total of 47 points has left them in eighth position in the table, three points off seventh-placed Athletic Bilbao heading into Week 37.

The Basque outfit ended last season in 12th, but have finished as high as fourth as recently as 2012-13, while they claimed sixth spot at the end of the 2016-17 season. The White and Blues cannot finish any higher than seventh this term, but incredibly there are just three points between 13th-placed Betis and Sociedad.

Sociedad are joined on 47 points by Espanyol and Alaves as it stands, while Eibar have 46 in 11th spot. Eighth or seventh certainly sounds a lot better than 13th, and it will be fascinating to see how the battle for a top-half finish looks heading into the final matchday of the campaign.

Sociedad's home form has been fairly modest this season - winning six, drawing six and losing six of their 18 matches. Points-wise, the Basque side have performed better at home than on their travels, but they have the sixth-best away record in the division in contrast to just the 14th-best on their own patch.

Madrid ran out 3-1 winners in the corresponding match last season, but Sociedad recorded a 2-0 victory when they travelled to the Bernabeu back in January. Los Blancos will enter Sunday's clash as the favourites, but the home side will certainly feel that they can cause a lot of problems.

Imanol Alguacil's team host Madrid before finishing their campaign away to Espanyol next weekend. They actually lost three of their four league games between April 7 and April 25, but followed a win over Getafe at the end of last month by recording an impressive 1-0 victory at Alaves last weekend.

Mikel Oyarzabal has been the star of the show for Sociedad this season, finding the back of the net on 13 occasions in La Liga, and the 22-year-old will be the biggest threat to Los Blancos this weekend, along with talented goalscorer Willian Jose.

On the face of it, there is not an awful lot for Sociedad to play for over the next couple of weeks as they cannot secure a top-six finish. Matches against Madrid are always special, though, and a strong performance on Sunday night would leave the supporters feeling positive about the 2019-20 campaign.

Recent form: LDLLWW

Real Madrid

Karim Benzema celebrates scoring for Real Madrid on April 21, 2019© Reuters

Ever since Zidane returned to the Bernabeu as head coach, there have been eyes on next season. There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a desperately disappointing campaign for Los Blancos, and they will be keen for it to end as soon as possible.

Santiago Solari replaced Julen Lopetegui as head coach after the former Spain boss struggled to make his mark in the capital - there were signs of improvement in the early stages of Solari's tenure, but it did not take too long before the supporters were calling for another change.

A record of 10 defeats from 36 league matches this season is an indication of Madrid's problems, and they are six points off second-placed Atletico as things stand. The capital giants have been unable to launch a title challenge this season, with Barcelona comfortably the best Spain has to offer once again.

Los Blancos also ended last season in third, and were 17 points off champions Barca. As it stands, they are 15 points off the summit, but it is difficult to say that progress has been made this term.

Indeed, the disappointment of losing to Ajax in the Champions League is still fresh in the memory, while the team's inconsistency has continued despite Zidane deciding to return to the position following a short spell out of the game.

A draw against Getafe, a loss to Rayo and a win over Villarreal in their last three shows Madrid's struggles, but they will be keen to end the campaign with back-to-back successes over Sociedad and Betis.

It seems increasingly likely that Eden Hazard will arrive from Chelsea, which is expected to push Gareth Bale closer to the exit. Left out against Villarreal, Bale has also been omitted from the squad for this match, and it is difficult to imagine that the Wales international will pull on the white of the famous club once again.

Plans for the summer are very much underway with Eder Militao's signature already secured; he could be joined by Lyon's Ferland Mendy, and there is no question that the team that starts the first La Liga match of the 2019-20 campaign will have a very different look from the one that finishes against Betis next week.

It seems incredible to think that a club of Madrid's size have won La Liga in just one of the last seven campaigns. Their stunning recent success in the Champions League managed to paper over some of the cracks, but Zidane surely has to lead a serious challenge for the Spanish title next term.

Recent form: WDWDLW

Team News

Gareth Bale in action for Real Madrid on April 6, 2019© Reuters

David Zurutuza, Aritz Elustondo and Luca Sangalli remain on the treatment table for Sociedad, while Asier Illarramendi and Adnan Januzaj will face late fitness tests ahead of the match.

As mentioned, Oyarzabal is again expected to support Willian Jose in a forward position, while Igor Zubeldia and Kevin Rodrigues are options for head coach Alguacil.

Sociedad are once again expected to go with a 4-5-1 formation, meaning that Mikel Merino will hold the base of the midfield.

Zidane has already named his squad for Sunday's fixture, and there is once again no place for Bale.

Raphael Varane has also been surprisingly left out when considering that captain Sergio Ramos is still injured, but Karim Benzema is available once again after missing the clash with Villarreal through injury.

The fact that Keylor Navas has been omitted suggests that Thibaut Courtois will start between the sticks once again, while Brahim Diaz will be hoping to keep his position in attack.

That said, Marco Asensio, Isco and Vinicius Junior all came off the bench against the Yellow Submarine last time out, meaning that Zidane has plenty of attacking options.

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Zaldua, Llorente, Navas, Munoz; Merino; Juanmi, Zubeldia, Pardo, Oyarzabal; Willian Jose​

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Nacho, Vallejo, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Vinicius, Benzema, Asensio

Head To Head

Madrid have won 81 of the previous 143 fixtures between the two teams, with Sociedad posting just 25 victories.

As mentioned, though, Sociedad recorded a 2-0 win at the Bernabeu in the reverse La Liga match this season.

Madrid have been victorious on their last three visits to the Anoeta in Spain's top flight, with Sociedad's last home league win over Los Blancos coming back in August 2014.

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We say: Real Sociedad 1-2 Real Madrid

Madrid have not exactly been flying in recent weeks, but Zidane still has a seriously talented set of players to call upon. We fancy the capital giants to have enough to pick up all three points on Sunday night.

Who will win Sunday's La Liga clash between Real Sociedad and Real Madrid?

Real Sociedad
Real Madrid
Real Sociedad
Real Madrid
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Gareth Bale in action for Real Madrid on April 6, 2019
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How Real Madrid could line up against Sociedad

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